Members Present: Hon. M. Richard Geiger, Chair Hon. Gail Hagerty Hon. Carol Ronning
Kapsner (telephonically) Rodney Olson Hon. John. T. Paulson Gladys
Schmitt Ted Smith
Members Absent: Jeanne Walstad
Others Present: Sally Holewa, ex officio Mike Sandal
Staff Renee Barnaby, Scribe
Chair Geiger called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed new member Ted Smith. The first item on the agenda was the approval of the Minutes of the last two meetings.
It was moved by Rod Olson, seconded by Judge Paulson, to approve the minutes of the June
8, 2007 meeting. The motion carried.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to approve the minutes of the
July 13, 2007 meeting. The motion carried.
Family Law Mediation Program Administrator Classification
Mike Sandal said the family law mediation program is the court's new pilot project coming out of
the last Legislative Session. A job classification has been developed for the Family Law Mediation
Program Administrator, which is the position responsible for administering that role. It is a one-position classification so it is tailored directly towards the needs of that person. The Classification
Committee evaluated the components of the classification and assigned it a pay grade of 19. It is
now before the Board for its consideration. Mr. Sandal said if, at some point in the future, the
position evolves into something else, it should be reviewed again by the Classification Committee.
Justice Kapsner said if this position expands beyond family law, perhaps the words family law
should be dropped from the title and the classification slightly modified so it would not need to be
reworked at a later date.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Rod Olson, to approved the Family Law
Mediation Program Administrator classification description and forward it to the Supreme
Court for consideration.
Mr. Sandal reiterated that if the Board decides to change or expand the classification, he strongly
suggested it go back to the Classification Committee again to see if such expansion has any impact
Judge Hagerty stated once we have the experience of having the pilot project, we may need to make
other changes to the classification.
Ted Smith questioned whether we would we be looking at the expansion of this job or adding
Chair Geiger said this person would administer programs of mediation in family law and not
necessarily be the mediator.
Gladys Schmitt said it was her understanding that six people will be hired as mediators and the
program administrator would be overseeing the mediators work. She said it was also her
understanding that the program administrator would mediate family law and nothing was said about
it expanding into other areas.
It was suggested that the mediation could expand into other areas such as civil law.
Judge Paulson called the question.
The motion carried and will be sent to the Supreme Court for consideration.
Director of Education and Communication Classification
Mike Sandal said the new classification of Director of Education and Communication has been
developed because of the growth of the education program. This position would be responsible for
the administration of the education and professional development programs for the judicial system.
It is a one-person classification so the class specification reflects closely to the job description, rather
than the generic description for other positions. The Classification Committee evaluated the new
classification and assigned it a pay grade of 21, which is the same level as the other state directors.
The Director of Education and Communication position would supervise the Education and Special
Projects Coordinator position, which is at a pay grade 16. The director classification is before the
Board for it consideration.
Gladys Schmitt questioned the margin of error or the scope of the responsibilities of this position
compared to the other state directors.
Justice Kapsner responded the impact would not be the same as if, for instance, the Director of
Technology made an error. However, the Director of Education does have a significant impact on
every person in the system in a sense that he or she is going to be responsible for educating and
assisting employees in their professionalism. She said hopefully all employees will take advantage
of those opportunities.
Sally Holewa said Lee Ann Barnhardt does an excellent job but because of the workload she is
unable to fulfill all of her job duties. Almost all of her time is devoted to conference planning. Her
other job duties involve updating and creating new brochures, creating information about the courts,
disseminating court information, and expanding the education program. The director position would
be responsible for those duties and overseeing the conference planning. Over $300,000 is spent each
year to contract with grant coordinators to oversee two grant programs. If we can obtain additional
FTEs, the idea is bring those in-house and put them underneath this person.
Judge Hagerty suggested and Ms. Holewa confirmed that this person would, in a sense, also serve
as a public information officer.
It was moved by Rod Olson, seconded by Judge Hagerty, to approve the Director of Education
and Communication classification description and forward it to the Supreme Court for
consideration. The motion carried.
A typographical error was noted by Rod Olson and corrected.
Mike Sandal said at the last meeting there were questions regarding a two-tiered process for review.
He added draft language to the proposal stating if prior attempts to recruit at entry level salaries have
been unsuccessful, the hiring manager could seek approval for a higher starting salary prior to
It was moved by Rod Olson, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to approve the changes to Policy 103
and send it out for employee comment.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Rod Olson, to leave the language in that was
stricken from paragraph B1 so the first phrase will read as follows: "Appointing Authority -
Appointing authority means presiding judge or designee of the presiding judge with authority
to appoint personnel in the District Courts for judicial referees, law clerks, court reporters,
and secretaries to judges;..."
Judge Hagerty suggested the words "with authority to appoint personnel in the District Courts" be
stricken because the authority of the presiding judge has changed with regard to personnel.
It was moved by Chair Geiger, seconded by Judge Paulson, to change the words "secretaries
to judges" to "electronic court recorders-district judges". The motion carried.
Mr. Sandal explained the proposed changes streamline the process to allow us to more readily recruit
individuals at a higher level salary when we do not get applicants or when we already know that we
will not get applicants. It would provide more flexibility with top level administrative approval to
bring people in at a higher salary for those hard-to-recruit positions.
Rod Olson said the people who have appointing authority in this policy are not consist with those
having appointing authority in other judicial policies and suggested such inconsistency may cause
Chair Geiger said Policy 103 covers employee compensation. It does not cover who has the
authority to ultimately hire the person. After further discussion, the motion carried to approve the changes to Policy 103 and send it
out for employee comment.
Mike Sandal said as a result of the proposal to exempt referees from the current classification, Policy
115 needs to be adjusted to coincide with that recommendation. At the last meeting, it was requested
that the words "and to referees" be added to paragraph A to clarify that the policy did in fact apply
to referees for the purposes of discipline and dismissal. It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to adopt the changes and
forward it to the Supreme Court for consideration.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to modify paragraph A to read
as follows: "This policy is applicable to all classified employees and those employed as
Judge Hagerty said referee are employees but they are not appointed.
The motion carried with one opposition.
It was moved by Judge Paulson to modify paragraph C2 to read as follows: "Cause for
dismissing classified employees and those employees as referees is as follows:..". The motion
died for a lack of a second.
It was moved by Chair Geiger, seconded by Judge Paulson, to strike the words "judicial
secretary" in paragraph C2a and insert "electronic court recorder-district judge."
Justice Kapsner said the justices still have judicial secretaries so both judicial secretary and
electronic court recorder-district judge are needed.
Chair Geiger, with the consent of the second, agreed to modify the motion to read as follows:
"A court reporter, electronic court recorder-district judge, and judicial secretary may be
dismissed for an identifiable pattern of unresolvable incompatibility in the opinion of the
supervising judge." The motion carried.
The motion carried to adopt the changes and forward the policy to the Supreme Court for
Mike Sandal drafted preliminary changes to Policy 106 to provide for a vice chair if a conflict of
interest arose with the chair, who may be part of an appeal or grievance.
It was moved by Rod Olson, seconded by Judge Paulson, to approve the proposed changes to
the policy and send it out for employee comment.
It was the consensus of the Board to insert the word "or" after paragraph C.1b.
It was moved by Judge Paulson, seconded by Gladys Schmitt, to amend section A4 to read as
follows: "The Board shall elect a chairperson and a vice-chair from among its membership.
The vice-chair shall serve in the absence of the chairperson. The chairperson and vice-chair
may vote on all matters before the Board." After further discussion, the motion carried.
The motion carried to approve the changes to the policy and forward it to employees for
Mike Sandal said the court recently acted on a recommendation from the State Court Administrator
to change the reporting relationship of the Assistant State Court Administrator for Trial Courts. The
Assistant State Court Administrator for Trial Courts will now report to the State Court Administrator
rather than the Chief Justice. Minor changes were also made to the duties and responsibilities and
essential functions. The Assistant State Court Administrator for Trial Courts is a non-classified
position, therefore it does not have a paygrade. The changes are provided to the Board for
informational purposes only.
It was moved by Judge Hagerty, seconded by Rod Olson, to acknowledge the job classification
with no further comment. The motion carried.
Glady Schmitt requested staff to include cover memos or commentaries with the agenda items so the
Board members are aware of what is being changed prior to the meeting. It was moved by Judge Paulson to adjourn the meeting. The next meeting will be December 19.